Be Stupid: Is Diesel taking the Mickey out of us?

Diesel store in New York

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At the beginning of this year, Diesel launched the Be Stupid campaign, a tribute to dumb and lazy people. Two weeks ago while freewheeling in New York, I took a picture of a Diesel store because its design intrigued and amused me.

That was before I head to the Diesel website and saw more ads from the campaign. What do I have against the Be Stupid campaign?
I’m not mad because this campaign targets people who take the easy way out and choose to be stupid. I don’t care if this campaign is winning the sympathy of those who have a promiscuous and dirty life. I don’t mind if it elevates people who use the world « cool » to justify their laziness and lack of wisdom.
What I hate about this campaign, it’s the fact that it endorses imposture.

Diesel wants us to believe that being stupid involves taking risks and going against the stream. On the contrary, I believe that being stupid is being cool and popular. It is not painful at all and is very easy to do.
Diesel purposely amalgamates being smart with being a:
– nerd: an unstylish, unattractive, or socially inept person; especially : one slavishly devoted to intellectual or academic pursuits
geek: a person often of an intellectual bent who is disliked

In order words, if you are not stupid but smart, you are boring and ugly.
Rubbish! I’m pretty satisfied with my grades at school and I don’t feel the need to pretend that I’m stupid just to be more popular. I’m not unstylished and though some people may dislike me, I concentrate more on those who like me and not exclusively on academic pursuits.

Let’s analyze some of these brilliant ads. (I only posted the picture that didn’t promote immorality. If you base your opinion on my selection, you will wrongly assume that the campaign was « clean »)

« Smart sees what’s there is. Stupid sees what there could be. »
Are you kidding? Stupids see no further than the end of their noses. The world smart means « capable of adapting to the environment ». Therefore, smart ones should be able to picture a wall as bike. Smart people would even be smart enough to use such image for stupid people.

« We’re with stupid. »
What do Native American have to do with stupid, Stupid? I’d like someone to explain.
I get the part about stupid alien movies but I’m not sure what to think of the First Nation garment.
What are they trying to tell us?

« Smart critiques. Stupid creates. »
Probably the most interesting picture of the whole campaign.
Apparently it wasn’t photoshopped but the models were positioned in a way that tricked our mind into thinking that they are defying gravity.
I agree that smart tend to critique and reassess everything, which can hinder them from doing anything at all. People who spent less time thinking and try things out have more occasion to create something. But I don’t know if stupid people always come up with useful or interesting creations.
In a perfect world, stupid creates with spontaneity and smart perfects it with intelligence. Either way, Diesel you can’t do away without your smart staff.

OK, I can hear these voices telling me that there are just ads after all, that I have to lighten up and stop ranting like an old bat.

Publicity is one of the forces of cohesion of our culture. (…). Publicity sells more than products. It also sells images, values, goals, opinions on what we should be (…). It affects our way of thinking, and our way of thinking affects our behavior.

The Stupid Campaign partisans pretend that Diesel took great risks by consecrating stupid people because the corporate world hates this kind of message. They also believe that Diesel is presenting a different perspective of the society by using a fresh and creative approach.

A different perspective really? Since when being dumb is not young and cool? This campaign is advertising nothing new at all, it’s just using the same stereotypes that I find reductive. Ah and businessman can only love this kind of lame campaign because it generates debates and purchases.

I’d like to see an ad with smart people portrayed as a cool; that would be a change. A little bit like the geek chic trend.
A good way to take risks, not being average is by doing exactly the opposite of what people expect you to be. Meaning: being sexy while keeping your clothes on, being funny while scoring high at school…

People against the campaign feel that Diesel was only trying to get the sympathy of the dumb ones. In my humble opinion, Diesel was also targeting smart ones. A good trick in publicity is to create an ad that is so stupid that smart people will feel even smarter. Good tip to boost an ego that is already too big. All those who think that they are too smart to be part of the target public got it all wrong. Not stupid eh?

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6 réflexions sur “Be Stupid: Is Diesel taking the Mickey out of us?

  1. webmistress dit :

    Lol great post my friend, stupid is as stupid does, who wants to be known as a stupid person? You would think that lacking knowlege and experience would make you unpopular if anything
    …Brains rule anyday and not only nerds are smart, got to have a combination of the two which are book smarts & street smarts. Had’nt even heard of The Stupid Campaign before reading this post.

  2. hibiscusjaune dit :

    If you had never heard about this campaign before, than forget about this post. I don’t want to seriously corrupt your brain! 🙂

    • webmistress dit :

      Oh pllleassseee corrupt my brain all you like, now I could just google this info, but figured i’de want it directly from you because there’s a certain way you do things. So feel free to fill me in teach me a thing or two.

  3. I suspect it’s just a really clever way to get people talking about the product – and it’s worked, so well done that ad agency.

    • hibiscusjaune dit :

      Yes, I know it works because I’ve played the game by blogging about it (shame on me).
      But you participated too by commenting on this post (I’m with stupid!) 🙂 Makes me feel better!

  4. Let’s add too that they make some really horrid clothes.
    There, now the balanced is restored.

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